Loading big guns

Guns, torpedoes, mines, bombs, missiles, ammunition, fire control, radars, and electronic warfare.
paul.mercer
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Loading big guns

Post by paul.mercer » Tue Feb 02, 2021 10:59 am

Gentlemen,
Having watched the film 'Sink the Bismarck' yet again, (which seems to be put on almost every week!), I was interested that in the film - which was presumably taken on Vanguard, of the method of loading a 15" gun, the loader seems to be working very hard pulling leavers to work the ram that put the shell and cordite bags home into the barrel and this made me wonder how long he could keep it up during a prolonged battle while wearing all the protective anti flash gear. I find it surprising that there was not a simpler method of just pressing a button or something and let the hydraulic or electric ram do its stuff, also what method was used to close the breech?

OpanaPointer
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Re: Loading big guns

Post by OpanaPointer » Tue Feb 02, 2021 1:36 pm

Pure muscle work was deemed more reliable in those days, with good reason. The loaders would, I suspect, trade off jobs during a particularly long duel. (If they didn't blow up on a huge explosion near Iceland, that is.) Cross training of positions was standard in the USN, Kriegsmarine and Royal Navy likely did the same.

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marcelo_malara
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Re: Loading big guns

Post by marcelo_malara » Tue Feb 02, 2021 3:48 pm

Sorry, all the described tasks were done electrically or hydraulically. The levers just opened a valve for the hydraulics to actuate or closed a circuit for the electricity to power the motors. There were mechanical backups, but they are not what is shown in the movie.

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paul.mercer
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Re: Loading big guns

Post by paul.mercer » Wed Feb 03, 2021 10:12 am

Thanks to you both for your replies, it still looked like jolly hard work.
Also, i'm not sure if the navy painted the shell nose as in the film, still, it wasn't a bad film bearing in mind it's age.

HMSVF
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Re: Loading big guns

Post by HMSVF » Thu Feb 04, 2021 4:00 pm

paul.mercer wrote:
Wed Feb 03, 2021 10:12 am
Thanks to you both for your replies, it still looked like jolly hard work.
Also, i'm not sure if the navy painted the shell nose as in the film, still, it wasn't a bad film bearing in mind it's age.

We are very lucky that she (HMS Vanguard) was still around when the film was produced. Those shots are diamonds. Images that would have been lost forever.

There is a great story in Ian McCarts 'HMS Vanguard' (I think) where a sailor recalls getting a blocking for saluting an actor playing a German officer (as she doubled for Bismarck as well).

He replies "how was I supposed to know he was an actor" to which his superior replied "they're the ones wearing bloody make up!".



If I had a massive euromillions win and a time machine HMS Vanguard would be in Portsmouth near HMS Victory and HMS Warrior. It was criminal that she wasn't preserved as memorial. By 1960 we weren't that short of scrap metal and I'm sure that the money could have been found if the admiralty had shown a bit more imagination.

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